I thought that I would be more tired than I was driving back into town. I had never felt more alive than I did at this very moment. I guess that I was worked up from all of the changes and experiences that happened within the last twelve hours. Suddenly, I had begun to actually live. I was amazed about how confident I felt since my dream. That was it! That is when it had all started. Had I not faced the danger, I would still be a nobody.
Did I just call myself a nobody? I have never thought of myself that way before. I guess that I never took the time to see myself for who I was. If I was honest with myself, what had I really ever done? I mean, I don’t even owe anything. I have absolutely nothing! I have a savings account for college, and a maybe a down payment for a house someday, but if my house burned down today, and would lose a few pairs of clothes.
Why could I never see this before, and what had changed about me within a day? Why did I have that dream? Is this my destiny? What do I do now? I was so deep in thought that I was already home. I got out went inside and got ready for work.
“Stephen, is that you? Are you okay honey?”
I went over to my mom and hugged her “Good morning Mom. I love you, and I just wanted to tell you that I am sorry for holding you back all of these years. I met someone last night, and we’re going to the mountains for a few weeks on an adventure. When I get back, I will be moving into my own place!”
My mom got that silly whimsical smile on her face, and bit her lip, “Wow! She must be really special. You’ve never stayed out all night before, but now I know why. So, when do I get to meet her?” she playfully pushed on my arm.
I had so much running through my mind right now. The possibilities were endless, and my mind was exploding with scenarios of what could be. “Meet her? What? No, Mom, it’s not a girl, it’s a guy!” I pushed passed her without realizing what she was saying while I was getting my things together.
“A guy? Oh, my word Stephen. I had no idea, I mean, okay! I still love you, and we can keep this between ourselves. I think everything is starting to make sense to me know. I can’t believe that I couldn’t see all of the warning signs before. You’re such a good dresser. You’re always so well groomed. You’re hair is always perfect, and your finger nails are always clean.”
I was walking out the door to tell them at the store that I was leaving for vacation and, “What? Wait a minute. Do you think that I am a homosexual Mom?”
My mother looked confused and helpless as she bit her lip again and looked up at me, “Well, I understand. It’s okay. I mean, I don’t understand, but I love you honey.” She burst out crying and pulled me close and hugged me tight. “I’m so sorry honey, I don’t know what to say.”
I grabbed her by the shoulders, and held her back so that I could look her in the eye and said, “Whoa now Mom, slow down. You have everything wrong. I am not a homosexual! I mean, I’m not sexual at all.” This wasn’t coming out right at all, and my mom looked even more confused than relieved. “What I’m trying to say is I have never had any kind of sex before. Until last night, I had never even kissed anyone before. I did kiss a bunch of pretty girls last night. I even was long kissed by another man, which was horrible but necessary so that the other girls would kiss me. I even got the blue balls last night! I mean, not from kissing the man, but from the girls kissing on me. I’m not making any sense right now, but I have to go. I will try and explain things better later, just know that I love you. Thank you for everything that you have done for me, I love you, bye.”
“Oh thank God Stephen, be careful!” she said while wiping away her tears in utter confusion.
I drove the two minutes to the Safeway and went inside with an agenda to get out of there as fast as I could, so that I could start my new life. I didn’t say hi to anyone and went into the managers vault. “James, I want to take some vacation time as soon as possible.”
James, the store manager, turned around from his desk and looked up at me, “Well hey there Steph. Good Morning! I heard that you had a great time last night and save someone’s life. I always knew that you had it in you, you rascal. All everyone has been talking about was how you stood up to some bullies, and kissed all of the pretty girls. I heard you even kissed a man! Were you drinking?”
“What? No James, you know that I don’t drink! And for the record, I didn’t kiss a man! He kissed me because we’re Amigos, and Amigos do that kind of stuff!” I blurted out with a defensive tone.
“Hey now, you know it’s okay with me. I think that it’s great that you’re finally starting do things. Don’t end up like me. I have been here twenty-two years now. I started just like you when I was in high school. I have been on two vacations in twenty-two years. I never thought that my life would end up like it has, but I have plans once I retire. I’m going to go places.” he said, almost believing himself.
“James, I need to take some vacation time. I will work my shift today, and then you can take me off the schedule for a few weeks. I will call you when I come back. I don’t know when that is going to be, but I want to see this through.”
“Well sure Steph. You have plenty of time saved up. I have the new intern from the college, so it was going to get a little crowded in here anyway. Have fun.”
I walked out and spent the next four hours getting all of my paperwork finished, and checking everything in. I didn’t realize it by everyone kept smiling at me and nodding their heads whenever I walked by. It was probably because they heard about me kissing a man. Wait, Tuck kissed me, I didn’t kiss him. It didn’t matter, everyone was going to believe what they wanted anyway. I was leaving and maybe it would be forgotten when I got back. No, I didn’t believe that either.
I heard a loud, long scream, “Pooh! There you are!” It was Eze, and he had Ashley and Christina with him. Wow, they were even prettier in the daytime.
“Hi Pooh,” they said simultaneously, as they walked up and kissed me together on each side of my face.
“Hi ladies, did you sleep okay? I’m sorry that I had to leave, but I had to get to work.”
Ashley tugged on my tie, “You look so professional in a white shirt and tie. I had no idea you would look so sexy.”
Before I knew it Sheila walked in between us and rudely said “Excuse me, but I need to speak with my manager.” She gave them the evil eye and turned her back on them. “Stephen, I have been doing a lot of thinking, and I know that you like me a lot, and I have decided that you can ask me out.”
Christina and Ashley jumped in together and wrapped their arms around my chest and waist and started kissing me on the mouth, “Too late girlfriend, you missed that ride because we’re taking him for a lunch that he will never forget.”
Eze smiled as he checked out with the cashier, “I got the biggest bottle of baby oil that I could find girls. Let’s see how much damage we can do in an hour!” He grabbed my arm and escorted me out to my minivan.
“What’s this all about?” I said.
“Get in, you’re taking us to lunch at The Cow Hop.” Eze said as they all piled in.
I drove us to Northgate, and parked in front of The Cow Hop. I had never been to any of the college bars before, and I never knew that this was a restaurant. I had no idea why it was called The Cow Hop, other than a hand-painted cartoon of a skinny farmer in coveralls holding a rope tied to a stick playing jump rope with a cow. It must be good because there was a line all the way to the door, but it was moving fast.
Ashley playfully pushed me from behind “Jesus Pooh, you were actually in love with that girl? What a Cunt?” she belted out.
What was a loud and busy room became deathly quiet in an instant, and everyone turned to look and find out who the culprit of the “C-bomb” was.
Ashley and Christina didn’t hesitate, “It’s true! This girl that he has been a perfect gentleman to for years, is a bitch and a cunt! She only now is trying to show interest in him, because we like him. So, we brought him to the Hop to exercise those demons with some honest Chicken-Fried Steak!”
Everyone started whooping and clapping, and the silence returned to ordered chaos again. Ashley and Christina kissed me some more, as Eze squeezed my shoulder walking past to order.
“We’ll have four orders of chicken fried steak sandwiches, with gravy on the fries, and four Coca-Colas.” Eze pointed at me, “and he’s buying!”
We got our number and waded through the narrow hallway to pick up our food as we filled our cups with Coke. A bell rang and our number was called. We picked up our food, and had to wade back through the crowd again hoping to find a table.
It was a dirty and dark room that was packed with people. The only light from the outside was coming through the Cow Hop painted window, and the door that kept opening and closing. All of the furniture was handmade by a carpenter with planks of lumber, and stained a dark brown.
We found a table and sat down. Eze reached out with his hands and bowed his head and closed his eyes. Ashley and Christina did the same grabbing my hands too. I looked around and bowed my head.
Eze prayed “Thank you Lord for delivering our new Amigo. We ask that you bless each of us with patience and kindness, and that you may instill in us the wisdom to do and say the right things. Please forgive me in advance for what I will do when confronted with evil, and we ask that you nourish our bodies with these gifts that Pooh has paid for. Amen!”
“Amen!” said the girls and we all started in on the food.
“Hey, this is great food!” I exclaimed with genuine surprise.
“Yeah, I figured that you had never been in here before.” Eze laughed, “I know it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it suites me just fine! Now, about this trip, you need to come by when you get off work. We have a lot to do before we leave.”